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LYN STANLEY/Moonlight Sessions V.1: This classy lassie has been coming out of nowhere on the run since she...well, first started coming out of nowhere on the run. Upping her game with each successive release, here we find her firmly staking out her territory as the jazz diva of the times by surrounding herself with jazzbos who you would buy their own solo records, a song stack that is familiar but she gives a new swing to and a vocal style you will remember. This is a gal of the hour that will be much more than flavor of the month. Killer stuff throughout.

JOVINO SANTOS NETO-ANDRE MEHMARI/Guris: When you strip something down to it's basics, it either shines or does something to the bed. These two first call pianists band together to celebrate Hermeto Pascoal's 80th birthday. If you ever had any doubts whether he's a national treasure in his home land, this smoking set will dispel them all and make you a believer at long last. With a catalog so deep that most of these songs are previously unrecorded, this is a delight on so many levels. We've only had a few real tastes of Pascoal stateside over the years and this set goes the distance in correcting that mistake. A smoking set that'll have you rapt throughout.

ANDREA STRAY/Into Blue: Kind of an industrial take on Americana singer/songwriter stuff, Stray is into creating a mood as well as content, and in a lot of ways, this reminds you of Emmylou's left turn into "Wrecking Ball" where her country diva roots were being uprooted into something new. A girl record for dissatisfied, contemporary girls who will know from whence Stray speaks.

MATT WHITE/World's Wide: The Nashville trumpet jazzbo turns in a second set that shows his debut was no fluke. Top shelf sitting down/listening jazz, White isn't confined by being in Nashville or blowing jazz and lets his observations on the world around us come out in his playing. Solid stuff that can easily take control of your mind and take you away from the humdrum, this is some seriously creative stuff that's done for more than just being creative to say you are. Killer stuff for the serious listener.

MJ TERRITO/Ladies Day: It's kind of funny, but when a bunch of guys get together to jam in the garage and finally decide to go for it, it's no big deal. However, when a bunch of gals get together to jam in the garage and decide to go for it on a set of tunes by their fave women writers, it's news. There's certainly a drift here I don't catch as an aging white guy, but I do recognize quality when it drifts by. A smoking, core jazz group augmented by some serious talents making names for themselves powers this set that's certainly a testament to female energy and empowerment. The title might have you thinking it's a tribute to Billie Holiday but it looks like she'll have to wait for when this crew puts out a v. 2. Solid playing, singing and song choices make this set a winner throughout, no matter who is at the wheel.

LIGHTNIN' WILLIE/No Black No White Just Blues: A super smoking killer of a blues rocking white boy that puts on a show and makes it feel like it's coming from the heart and soul, direct and uncut. A cat that learned his lessons in Texas beer halls (probably playing behind chicken wire), this is such a bad ass load of the real deal that you'll never get it out of your blood stream once you've been inflicted. Killer stuff throughout.

THE SHERMAN HOLMES PROJECT/Richmond Sessions: Granted, we do a pretty snaky job on arts council funded music, this time out, we have to stand down. The solo debut of a 77 year old that's been at it for over half a century was a record that had to be made. An influential gospel/bluegrass/Americana/soul cat that raised the roof with his brother over the years rallies a crew that's glad to be there for a session that should have been done for Smithsonian but is just way too hip for that room. A one of a kind record that's just going to blow your mind, if you never caught Holmes Brothers, you've got to get on board now. Killer stuff throughout.

CAPTAIN BEYOND/Lost & Found 1972-1973: When Iron Butterfly reconvened as space rockers that blew Duane Allman's mind, they left behind some demos that never made it to the masses, as well as a track that was never before released. With space rock back in vogue, this pioneering effort is one for genre fans that still have their hipper than thou attitude right at the fore. Right in the pocket with the tenor of the times, how can timeless stuff like this ever be out of step? It can't. Space rockers, dig in to some of the stuff from the true vine.

LASZLO GARDONY/Serious Play: An utterly killer after hours solo piano set by a jazzbo who has been around the world and soaked it all in. Adding invention to the familiar and keeping it all low key and feeling like he's taking it to church, Gardony's touch amazes throughout. Deft with relying on pyrotechnics, Howard Arlen, Ray Charles, John Coltrane and a bunch of originals all together in one harmonious whole? Wow. You'll say that do as this tour de force blows your ears wide open, seemingly without even trying. Hot stuff.

JENNIFER SARAN/Wake Up: Saran has been dropping some interesting albums over the last few years but this bag breaker is either really from the heart or she's a great actress. With Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Carlos Santana bringing up the rear, she does some tributes, celebrates living in the light without being touchy feely about it and delivers gang loads of the kind of smoking energy that gets you to lift your head off he table and join in. A wild set that follows no rules other than getting in the game and getting with the program, this is one of those welcome sets that colors outside the lines and makes you glad you still know how to follow your muse. Well done.

Volume 40/Number 234
June 23, 2017
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2017 Midwest Record

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